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Ask Dr. Gott 2/27
Hot flashes in the elderly unusual
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a lady who has been living in a rest home. I am 95 years old.
    I am very confused about why I am having hot flashes at my age. I have told my primary doctor, and he gave me some medication. It does not work. I am still having hot flashes, which are very disgusting at my age.
    Is this common for us elderly women? I wake up in bed at night with my gown and hair all wet. I am very frustrated about why this is happening to me.
    DEAR READER: Hot flashes are caused by the body's reaction to lessening hormone levels. Although such a reaction would be extraordinarily unusual in a 95-year-old woman, it can happen. I suggest that you be examined by a gynecologist, who will probably check your hormone levels and suggest therapy to make you more comfortable.
    Another possibility, although incredibly rare, is cancer. Night sweats are an unusual presentation. Just to be safe, your gynecologist can check out this possibility. It is very unlikely your sweats are caused by cancer; they are most likely due to waning hormone levels.
    Good luck and let me know how this turns out.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Menopause."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have noticed a direct correlation between lack of sleep and the eruption and/or proliferation of acne on my face. In fact, I have noticed that I experience a general feeling of being inflamed (breast tenderness, abdominal bloating and body aches) when I miss sleep or it is interrupted. I have found that taking a dose of ibuprofen will stave off the acne or the general feeling of inflammation if I know in advance I will not be getting adequate sleep.
    Is this a bad practice? Is there anything I can do to arrest this process when those unavoidable interruptions occur? Is this an indication of a deeper, perhaps hormonal issue that can be treated?
    DEAR READER: Acne is often triggered by stress, a common phenomenon that is challenging to treat. You seem to have found an answer to your problem. The regular use of low-dose ibuprofen will not harm you.
    I do not believe that you have a hormonal imbalance. On the other hand, you don't mention your age. If you are menopausal, hormone-replacement therapy could help you. If you are premenopausal or postmenopausal, I suggest that see a gynecologist, who can test your hormone levels and offer suggestions.
    Your primary care physician can examine you and suggest treatment for your acne. He or she may also choose to refer you to a dermatologist for further evaluation.
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